President Trump questioned why National Public Radio (NPR) still exists following reports that his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo berated NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly with expletives after she asked him about the Ukraine scandal.
The president on Sunday retweeted conservative radio host Mark Levin’s tweet that asked, “Why does NPR still exist?”
“A very good question!” Trump posted with Levin’s tweet.
A very good question! https://t.co/8z6uQLKz8M
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020
Levin added: “We have thousands of radio stations in the U.S. Plus Satellite radio. Podcasts. Why are we paying for this big-government, Democrat Party propaganda operation.”
NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly revealed during a segment on “All Things Considered” on Friday that Pompeo questioned whether Americans even care about Ukraine and if the veteran journalist — who had recently returned from reporting in Iran — could find the country on a map.
“I was taken to the Secretary’s private living room where he was waiting and where he shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself,” Kelly told her co-host Ari Shapiro, according to a transcript of the program. “He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine.”
“He asked, ‘Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?’ He used the F-word in that sentence and many others,” Kelly said.
“He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said yes, and he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away.”
“He said, ‘People will hear about this,’” Kelly recounted.
Pompeo then accused Kelly of lying to him, alleging that the post-interview conversation was off the record and that the interview was supposed to focus on Iran. Kelly says she confirmed with Pompeo’s staff that Ukraine would also be on the docket.
“It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency,” Pompeo said Saturday.
On Sunday, Kelly’s colleague Kelsey Snell defended Kelly and claimed that NPR had emails documenting that Pompeo was aware that she would be asking him about Ukraine and Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
“Mary Louise is a great journalist and somebody whose integrity I’ve never seen questioned before,” Snell said on Face the Nation. “She works incredibly hard and always is incredibly prepared. I think it’s important to note that in his statement, Secretary Pompeo never disputes the facts that are reported in the entirety of the question. We aired her interview unedited and he never disputes any of the facts there.”
She added: “And there is a chain of emails, Mary Louise has told our CEO and has shared with the folks higher up at NPR, a chain of emails where she establishes that she plans to talk to the secretary about Ukraine. As a network, we fully stand by her.”